Student or Learner
What explains this remarkable turn of events? Two factors: people have figured out how to use water more efficiently, and communities are rethinking their priorities for water use. Throughout the first three-quarters of the 20th century, the quantity of freshwater consumed per person doubled on average; in the USA, water withdrawals increased tenfold while the population quadrupled. But since 1980, the amount of water consumed per person has actually decreased, thanks to a range of new technologies that help to conserve water in homes and industry. In 1965, for instance, Japan used approximately 13 million gallons* of water to produce $1 million of commercial output; by 1989 this had dropped to 3.5 million gallons (even accounting for inflation) - almost a quadrupling of water productivity. In the USA, water withdrawals have fallen by more than 20% from their peak in 1980.
What does this "account for" mean here? "consider"?
accounting for inflation
I'd say it means adjusting for inflation, but probably means the same thing practically.